A Public Talk by McNally and Performances of His Works by Chapman Theatre Students Highlight the Event – Tickets Available Now

ORANGE, Calif.
– Four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally (“Master Class,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Ragtime,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!”) will visit Chapman University on Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, to take part in a two-day symposium examining and celebrating his work.

Terrence McNally

Terrence McNally

In addition to a public lecture in which McNally will talk about his plays and modern theatre, the playwright will work directly with Chapman literature, creative writing and theatre students.  The students will present papers on McNally’s work on Saturday and perform “A Terrence McNally Festival” — staged performances of five of his one-act plays – on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, with McNally present at the Friday night performance to offer feedback.   The symposium will also include a keynote lecture by Raymond-Jean Frontain, Ph.D. of the University of Central Arkansas, one of the world’s leading McNally scholars.

Most symposium events are free and open to the public.  McNally’s talk on Saturday evening is $10 general admission.  Tickets are available through Chapman’s online ticketing service: 

A full schedule of the symposium is below.

The symposium, presented by Chapman’s Departments of English and Theatre, Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Performing Arts, is “a significant event in the arts life of our university,” said Myron Yeager, Ph.D., Chapman professor of English and the event’s lead planner.  “The Chapman University community – and the public – will gain an unparalleled experience, and the chance to engage with an individual who has made a powerful contribution to the shaping of contemporary American art and culture.”


Terrence McNally was born in 1938 in St. Petersburg, Florida and grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Listening to radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, McNally developed an early love of the opera that would surface in his later work, most notably in “The Lisbon Traviata” (1989) and “Master Class” (1996, for which he received a Tony Award for Best Play).  His love of music also inspired him to collaborate on several musicals, including “The Rink” (1984), “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1993), “Ragtime” (1996) and “The Full Monty” (2000), and three operas, including “The Food of Love” (1999), “Dead Man Walking” (2000) and “Three Decembers” (2008).  Both “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Ragtime” earned him Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical.

Equally comfortable writing drama or musical theatre, McNally both gratifies and challenges his audiences.  His treatment of such topics as love, fear, sexuality and AIDS illuminates the ways people connect or fail to connect in a world in which human relationships are essential to survival.  His drama written for PBS about a mother coping with the death of her son from AIDS, “Andre’s Mother” (1990) earned an Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Miniseries or Special and serves as the context for his twentieth Broadway production, “Mothers and Sons,” which premiered last month.  His study of the integrity of love and friendship in “Love! Valour! Compassion!” (1994) earned McNally his fourth Tony Award as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play.  “Corpus Christi” (1999) dramatized a homosexual version of Jesus Christ, drawing death threats and mobs of angry protesters when the play was performed in the U.S. and England.

Some of McNally’s other notable credits include “The Ritz” (1975), “Frankie and Johnnie at the Clair de Lune” (1987), “Lips Together, Teeth Apart” (1991, which received a Drama Desk Award for Best New Play), “Unusual Acts of Devotion” (2008), “Golden Age” (2009), “Some Men” (2006) and “And Away We Go” (2014).   In addition to four Tonys and an Emmy, McNally has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Hull-Warriner Award, a Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  A member of the Dramatists Guild Council since 1970, he has served as the guild’s vice president since 1981.

TERRENCE MCNALLY AT CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY: A Symposium – Friday-Saturday, April 25-26, 2014


7:30 p.m.
“A Terrence McNally Festival” — Black Box Theatre, Moulton Hall 149
Student performers will present five one-act McNally plays.  Free and open to general public.  Performance will be repeated on Friday and Saturday nights.


7:30 p.m.
“A Terrence McNally Festival” — Black Box Theatre, Moulton Hall 149
Student performers will present five one-act McNally plays, with McNally attending TONIGHT ONLY and offering them feedback. Free and open to general public. Performance will be repeated on Saturday night.


12 noon
McNally luncheon with students.  (Not open to public)

1:15 p.m.
Symposium of student papers on McNally — Argyros Forum 208

3:30 p.m.
Lecture: “Something About Grace:  Terrence McNally and the Redemptive Power of Theatre” — Raymond-Jean Frontain, Ph.D., University of Central Arkansas — Free and open to general public.  — Argyros Forum 208

7:30 p.m.
Terrance McNally Public Lecture:  “My Life in the Theatre”  – McNally will discuss his life and work. $10 general admission.  Tickets:
— Waltmar Theatre

9 p.m.
“A Terrence McNally Festival” — Black Box Theatre, Moulton Hall 149
Student performers present five one-act plays by McNally. Free and open to general public.


2 p.m.
“Corpus Christi” — Theatre Out, Santa Ana
Private performance of play for Chapman students; McNally will give talk-back at end of performance.  (Not open to public.)


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